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backward at the Library of Congress in the olden time. Founded in 1800 for the sole and exclusive use of Congress in the olden time, and hence its name, its growth for the first half century was indeed slow. It numbered in 1852 only 55,000 volumes, of which all but 2,000 were destroyed by fire in December of that year. Congress immediately appropriated $72,500 for the restoration of the building. The reconstructed portion was of iron, and, according to Mr. Spofford, the first instance of the use of that material for interior, fireproof construction in any public building in America. This was the second fire which had occurred in the library, the first being when the Capitol was burned by the British in 1814. Mr. Jefferson, then living in retirement at Monticello, and being financially embarrassed, saw his opportunity. He offered his entire collection of 7,000 volumes to the Library of Congress as the nucleus of a new collection. He put his initials T. J. (or I. T.) wherever those letters occur in the signature of every book, and with a truly prophetic instinct and foresight of what the nation's library is, and should be, in the title to his catalogue accompanying the collection, he renamed it the Library of the United States. It is no longer the Library of Congress, and that inscription ought surely to be erased from the facade over the entrance to the rotunda or reading room of the new library and Mr. Jefferson's title put there instead, because it is the United States Library and every citizen of this country has a personal stake in it.

Under the old regime there was no library staff organization, in the sense, that is, of a division or separation into distinct compartments, each with a responsible head. As was said of Napoleon, he was not a man but a system, so the only system in the old library was carried in the brain of one man, the Librarian of Congress. He was practically everything; he took not only the knowledge of all things in the library to be his province, but he took all the provinces. As Librarian, he was naturally and of course made keeper of the printed books and custodian of all the manuscript, but he was also Register of Copyright, chief of staff in cataloguing, overseer of the bookbindery business, letter writer, and head of correspondence of the library, and, above all, the central bureau of information to all inquiring Congressmen and seekers after knowledge.

With so many irons in the fire, the wonder is where he found time for that multifariousness of occupation and interest, of knowledge and of acquisition that distinguished him. He saw every book, new or old, that came into the library, and a glance at the running title, head lines and table of contents in most cases satisfied him; but he could, as was said of Dr. Johnson, tear the heart

out of a book in half an hour's reading. He had a "speaking acquaintance" with the leading and more important works in every class and division of the great library. But he never claimed, if others claimed for him, that he knew every book in the Library of Congress. That claim, if it was ever made, was not true, but it is true that he knew the library like a book and could describe its contents. If any doubt exists on that point the reader is referred to the report on the "condition of the Library of Congress," (March, 1897,) wherein Mr. Spofford in his testimony before the Joint Committee on the Library takes up, successively, each of its forty-four chapters and de-. scribes in detail exhaustively and from memory the main features, the important acquisitions, the leading works and characteristics.

It appears to me as one of the most marvelous feats of memory ever achieved by man. It was once indiscreetly said that this man knew every book that was ever printed! This, of course, was impossible; but he knew a world of books, and of those in the library he could produce at any time almost any book that was called for. When he tapped the bell and gave his order if the attendant hesitated, he would say: "Go to such chapter, to such an alcove, and on such a shelf, in such a binding, find and bring me that book." This was often done to the admiration of the caller, though an every-day affair to the attendant at the desk. His previous experience as a bookseller and newspaper correspondent gave him a commercial knowledge of books that was useful in buying and ordering books for the library, to which was added in time the vastly superior knowledge of book values and appreciations. In short, he was an authority, and second to none, on all that relates to the uses and administration of books in this country.

Of the former Assistant Librarians I can here only speak of those who are either dead and gone or are no longer connected with the institution. Mr. Vinton, who at one time had charge of the catalogue, resigned to become Librarian of the College of New Jersey. He is no longer living. Dr. Theodore N. Gill, one of the first naturalists in this country or any other, and an authority in his own specialty (fossil fishes), was also employed on the catalogue; and the tyro in cataloguing, as well as some who were not tyros, had reason to remember the "snap shots" of the doctor in revision of their author and title cards, and the "landscapes" he used to make of them! The doctor, a pronounced Darwinian and evolutionist, has a fine philosophical intellect, and is still very much absorbed in his scientific work, but his worst enemy would hardly wish him back again at a task so uncongenial and so little remunerative to a man of his ability. Able men, indeed, in

libraries or elsewhere, are not always to be had for the asking, and they were rather repelled from a service where they had no province of their own, no definite duties to perform, but, like a clerk or call boy, were subject to the will and invasion of another, and where, whatever they did. or did not do, they could draw their salary, but could get neither credit, glory, nor advancement. All men in proportion to their ability love to be trusted with power and responsibility. They wish to rule in their own province, but where there are no provinces-alas!

There is also a Dr. Roberts, who is to-day a shining light in the Presbyterian Church, and of whom it is claimed that as a cataloguer he never made a mistake. If so he was a marvel and a miracle of correctness, for it is almost an adage that if you want to take the conceit of correctness out of a man let bim make and publish a catalogue. The writer is free to confess that he made mistakes, but these were mostly clerical and sometimes the result of being overdriven and hurried in work that could not wait. Such mistakes are easily detected and corrected, as they were, and the author brought to book by the lynx-eyed library chief. But did he always or often know of the painful searchings requisite to fix a date or discover an authorship? Was he aware of the many journeyings to remote parts of the library, the "up hill and down dale," to attic or cellerage, for the necessary rummaging in old magazines and newspapers, in directories, almanacs and encyclopedias, in private memoirs, and biographical dictionaries, in obituaries and genealogies, in order to determine the spelling, or to obtain the full Christian and surname, the author's epoch (date of his birth and death), and any other circumstance calculated to throw light on the author or authorship in question? And often it was necessary to identify the particular Smith, Jones or Robinson amid the "innumerable caravan" of such who had long since moved "to the pale realms of shade," and to be "called back" only by the most patient and persistent of researches? Did he know, this Admirable Chrichton of a Librarian, of the many obstacles and impediments placed in the way of a man who had work to do, but not always the means at hand for doing it— some special bibliography that was always wanting; some wanted work of reference which had gone to the bindery; some library aid or aids, and there were many such we ought to have possessed, but did not, and those we had were parceled out and scattered like tools over a ten-acre lot?

It is not too much to say that for want of a suitable workroom and of tools convenient to our hand, fully one-half of the time was spent and often wasted in these journeyings and explora

tions. The library itself was most deficient in recent bibliography. It was nowhere up to date; in countries like Holland, Belgium, Russia, Scandinavia, France even, and notably in the Central and South American States and in Mexico, it was anywhere from ten to twenty years behind the times. And what was even more exasperating, the current literary news and publications, like the Publishers' Weekly, the Bookman, and even the Library Journal, the London Athenæum and Academy, the bulletins of the Boston Public, Harvard, Cornell, and other libraries, were not open and accessible, but to be seen and had only by permission of the man who kept them habitually under lock and key. My colleague-there was but one for a long time associated with me in cataloguing-tasted also the full bitterness of these trials and deprivations, but he knew as well as I the futility of complaint, remonstrance or petition; such things were inconvenient, but they were accepted as part of the conditons which handicapped our labors.

Instead of commanding or being able to command the entire bibliographical resources of the Library of Congress, meagre, as in some respects its then resources were, we had, in general, to content ourselves with the very ordinary, and often obsolete, authorities at hand. When these failed us, as often they did, in the important matter of a date or of the full Christian and surname of the author, we had to resort to more unconventional and remote sources of information. I had a fixed theory and belief that every needed item of information for the intelligent cataloguing of any work existed somewhere, in some book, person or writing. It was a problem of what, where and how -to find it. If the book was in the library, it was my business to find it. If not in this library, it might be in another; and if not in any book or library, it might be in the memory of a living person, or in some record, like the old London Stationers' entries, or Doctors' Commons. On this presupposition I framed my inquiries and started on my line of investigation, often with the best results.

I think I may also claim the beginning of a novel method of research-novel as regards the Library of Congress, though it has often been used before, and always will be used by students and investigators. This was a circular letter of inquiry which I composed under the direction of the chief, and which was sent out under his signature to publishers, booksellers, librarians and others who were likely to be acquainted with the authorship of anonymous and pseudonymous works. A penalty envelope was inclosed along with the circular, and the return mail usually brought an answer with the coveted information. In this way hundreds of authorships hitherto con

cealed and not generally known were added to the vast stores of bibliographic lore already accumulated and embodied in the card catalogue.

In my view, though it seem to be the case of a man magnifying his office, there is no conceivable work in a library which is greater than, or in value and importance equal to, work on the catalogue. If library administration is also important, yet into what confusion would the bureau of administration fall, and to what complexion would it come, without a good up-to-date catalogue? So constantly in use is it, and so necessary to the service of the public, that the card catalogue of the Library of Congress has lately been moved from the cataloguing room and workshop, where it is most needed by the cataloguers, to the place where it is under the immediate eye and control of the superintendent of the reading room and his corps of assistants, for the reason that they cannot do without it. When I entered the service the art of cataloguing was, so to say, in its infancy, when I left it, it had so far advanced as to have a well-defined code of procedure and to demand not merely a certain grade of qualifications on the part of the cataloguer, but an amount of skill and training which can only be acquired by long practice and improved by daily exercise.

It is not enough to-day to know the name in full of your author and his latest title, if he had one; you must know his age and country; his time and place, his epoch, and forget not to add his birth and death dates to the name at top of the card over the title. The title, brief and compact, after weeding from it every superfluous word. should be simplicity itself; it should contain all that is essential and nothing that is non-essential. The best title that I ever saw was compressed into a single word, "Voltaire," being a monograph on that writer by John Morley. Then follows title with notation and description of the work, and last but not least of all, the date.

The cataloguer, in aid of his judgment in such matters, will, of course, seek the highest and most authoritative sources of criticism; he will not neglect any means toward that crowning work of a bibliographer which aims to put the reader in possession of the facts necessary to weigh and to understand his author, including the assignment of rank of any production in its class, and of its class in the general scale of book values and appreciations.

If I were to be asked what is the most important thing to be noted in cataloguing a book, I should say, uniquely, the date. And the next in importance the date. And the next? I should answer still-the date! It is the habit of knavish booksellers to omit the date, hoping thereby to deceive their readers into the belief that the book is of more recent date than it really is; but if the book be copyrighted, the date of entry, and hence of publication, will generally be found on the reverse of title. The cataloguer who knows not the date knows nothing, then, which he ought to know. After the date, and underneath the title, if there be room for a bibliographic note, though not required, it may be often useful to note some circumstance or event, say the most significant fact in the life of the author, or some illuminating sentence of criticism on the man and his works,

These, to a first-class cataloguer and library worker, may now fairly be reckoned among the important duties and requirements of his position. They are not to be learned in a day or a year; a lifetime would hardly suffice to grasp them in all their complexity and obscurity, in their cryptogamic evolutions of the innermost secrets of life and authorship, and the deciphering of the same. by the veteran expert and bibliographer. Poe, with his fine, unerring instinct of authorship and his vast analytical and reasoning powers, would have made a capital worker, an ideal bibliographer. Indeed the genius of poetry and of mathematics is not too high for him who aspires to tread the summits of this noble profession. JOHN SAVARY.

THE AUTHOR AND HIS BOOKS.

BY JOEL BENTON.

A prevalent but curious misconception rests in many intelligent minds concerning the author and his books. Whether he is supposed to secrete their spiritual contents by some such autonomy as that by which the spider draws out his web, or whether it is believed that a Good Fairy whispers thair contents over his shoulder, leaving him mothing to do but to write down, with that supreme ecstasy that attends all modes of creation, their inspired pages, it would be hard to tell. Some such easy way, at any rate, it must be by which the author makes his books, if a considerably wide public presumption is correct. For that presumption is not only that he has an unlimited number of each book that he puts forth to give away, but that this giving costs him nothing. In the world in which all authors have lived up to date this conception of them is not true, but in the imaginary Alice-in-Wonderland-like one which the presumption implies, it is assumed to be true.

He must be a very obscure author, indeed, if he has arisen high enough to go inside of board or paper covers even, who has not met with at least a dozen requests for his book before it has been in the hands or the trade a week. Persons whom you have met but slightly, and many whom you have never met or known until the request comes, ask you, with the serenest confidence, for a copy of the volume. The request may not always be

decorated with an interrogation point. It often takes another, but just as pressing, form. Commonly it is a glowing rhetorical assurance of the gladness that would ensnare and enliven their hearts if you would give the importunate persous a copy. "It would be treasured so much" Or, "Coming from you, it would be so delightful.”

Who can be brave enough to resist such appreciative-not to say diplomatic-charming as all this? In a thickly peopled world where celebrities are so scarce, pro rata to the mass, doesn't this homage distinctly say that you are one of them? You may have been doubting for years whether all your life's work has made a visible ripple in human minds, or on the sea of seething thought; but, hearing the song of these seductive sirens, how can you longer doubt yourself, or depress your status? Why not surrender to these appeals, and admit that you are among The Immortals, if giving away a goodly number of your books will cheat the Lethean stream and rescue you from oblivion ?

It is true that other commodities will not come to the author by any similar appeal on his part. He cannot say to the carriage-maker how much. joy it would afford him to have as a gift from his shop merely a small phaeton, and assure him of the summit to which his gratitude would arise whenever he took a turn with it on the street. Nor are there any other solid goods that he can expect to sorcerize and capture in such a way. For raiment and furniture, and the general run of practical things, are material choses which cannot be called to us by any hypnotism short of the tinkle of hard-earned dollars; while the goods of the literary shop seem shadowy, uncertain and spiritual. The book cannot last for the author or his assigns over forty-two years. It may not have an income value at all; and, if it should have, is it not a sort of simony to sell the things of the spirit?

It is certainly the author's desire to have his books go to every place where they are wanted. He likes to know they will be read and cherished. His whole small-salaried life and his incurable and persistent devotion to his craft are a confession that there is something greater moving him than the Philistine's pursuit of greedy gain. But, alas! he lacks Midas' gift. He has rather its antithesis. Nothing that he touches turns to much gold-unless he is a Kipling or of some equivalent brand; and books cost money. It is a dreadful secret for one to be so free with; but it must come out. Even the book the author himself writes he has to buy, just as he must buy Carlyle's, or Ruskin's, or Holmes, or anybody's. The very few copies he gets allotted him by courtesy-say they are a dozen-he must give to a very few of his lifelong friends and to near relatives, if he has any copies left after he has reciprocated with the authors who have already given him their books. But he has a thousand friends besides, and often more-and of siren admirers an innumerable mul

titude. If he is to please them all he must simply buy and give away an entire first edition. Nothing less would fulfill the real equities and make the author impartial.

The misconception with which I began is made plainer when I assure the reader that a good friend said to me once, in explanation of the chronic request: "Why! I thought the publisher gave you two hundred or more copies." He might have thought the publisher gave the stamps with which to mail them. My dear, but hallucinated friend, the Millennium has not yet arrived; but it will have passed its meridian when this generosity happens. I will gladly go with a Diogenes lantern through every town in this country, if I can be assured thereby that I can find such a publisher as this.

What James Russell Lowell is quoted as saying ought to have a broader publicity while so much current misapprehension of the author and his books remains. An enthusiastic and charming young lady once said to him something like this; "Oh, Mr. Lowell, I should be so happy if you would give me one of your books." "My dear madam," said Lowell very blandly in reply, "well, if an author's friends won't buy his books, who will?"--Literature.

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ILLUMINATION.

Not until recently has the illuminating art such as was in use centuries ago received much attention in this or other countries. In the Lenox library in New York may be seen the famous Gutenberg Bible magnificently embellished by some professional illuminators. These artists, who were living in the 13th and 14th centuries, before the art of printing was discovered and who brought the illuminating art to a high state of perfection, left no successors. With the introduction of the art of bookmaking by the use of moveable types, the illuminating art fell into disuse and did not reappear until a comparatively recent date. The monasteries of England, France, Germany and other countries produced manuscripts in parchments in great numbers. It is estimated that there are nearly a million hand-written parchments in the libraries of the world, and yet there are few even among the scholars and antiquaries who know even the appearance or value of illuminated manuscripts of the early centuries. While it is true that the art of illumination as originally practiced in the embellishment of Bibles and historical and poetical works has changed places with modern book illustrations, it remains in practice in many cities of the Old World, as was seen in the making of documents and testimonials giving Gen. Grant "the freedom of the city," during his travels, and which are now on exhibition in the national museum at Washington. There is also a society of illuminations and miniaturists in Paris which holds an annual exhibition. There are few in this country who are specially interested in the illuminating art, as few have the time and patience to devote to it. A young man in New York, by the name of William C. Bamburgh, has from a genuine love of the art, executed, outside of his regular business hours, some exceedingly beautiful illuminations in connection with the works of Holmes, Emerson, Lowell and others.

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SIXTEENTH CENTURY BOOK-FIRES.

Fire, which is the destruction of so many things, and destined, according to old Indian belief, one day to destroy the world, is so peculiarly the enemy of books, that the worm itself is not more fatal to them. Whole libraries have fallen a prey to the flames, and oftener, alas! by design than accident; the warrior alway, whether Alexander at Persepolis, Antiochus at Jerusalem, Cæsar and Omar at Alexandria, or General Ulrich at Strasburg (in 1870), esteeming it among the first duties of his barbarous calling to consign ideas and arts to destruction.

But these are the fires of indiscriminate rage, due to the natural antagonism between civilization and military barbarism; it is fire, indiscriminately applied, that attaches a special interest and value to books condemned to it. Whether the sentence has come from Pope or Archbishop, Parliament or King, the book so sentenced has a claim on our curiosity, and as often on our respect as our disdain. Fire, indeed, has been spoken of as the blue ribbon of literature, and many a modern author may fairly regret that such a distinction is no longer attainable in these days of enlightened advertisement.

To collect books that have been dishonored-or honored-in this way, books that at the risk of heavy punishment have been saved from the public fire or the common hangman, is no mean amusement for a bibliophile. Some collect books for their bindings, some for their rarity, a minority for their contents; but he who collects a firelibrary makes all these considerations secondary to the associations of his books with the lives of their authors and their place in the history of ideas. Perhaps he is thereby the more rational collector, if reason at all need be considered in the matter; for if my whim pleases myself, let him go hang who disdains or disapproves of it.

All the books of such a library are not, of course, suitable for general reading, there being not a few disgraceful ones among them that fully deserved the stigma intended for them. But most are innocent enough, and many of them as dull as the authors of their condemnation; whilst others, again, are so sparkling and well written that I wish it were possible to rescue them from the oblivion that enshrouds them even more thickly than the dust of centuries. The English books of this sort naturally stand apart from their foreign rivals, and may be roughly classified according as they deal with the affairs of State or Church. The original flavor has gone from many of them, like the scent from dried flowers, with the dispute or ephemeral motive that gave rise to them; but a new flavor from that very fact has

taken the place of the old, of the same sort that attaches to the relics of extinct religions or of bygone forms of life.

The history of our country since the days of printing is exactly reflected in its burnt literature, and so little has the public fire been any respecter of class or dignity, that no branch of intellectual activity has failed to contribute some author whose work, or works, has been consigned to the flames. Our greatest poets, philosophers, bishops, lawyers, novelists, heads of colleges, are all represented in my collection, forming indeed a motley but no insipid society, wherein the gravest questions of government and the deepest problems of speculation are handled with freedom, and men who were most divided in their lives meet at last in a common bond of harmony. Cowell, the friend of prerogative, finds himself here side by side with Milton, the republican; and Sachevereil, the high churchman, in close company with Tindal and Defoe.

For nearly 300 years the rude censorship of fire was applied to literature in England, beginning naturally in that fierce religious war we call the Reformation, which practically constitutes the history of England for some two centuries. The first grand occasion of book-burning was in response to the Pope's sentence against Martin Luther, when Wolsey went in state to St. Paul's, and many of Luther's publications were burned in the churchyard during a sermon against them by Fisher, Bishop of Rochester (1521).

But the first printed work by an Englishman that was so treated was actually the Gospel. The story is too familiar to repeat, of the two occasions on which Tyndale's New Testament in English was burnt before Old St. Paul's; but in pausing to reflect that the book which met with this fiery fate, and whose author ultimately met with the same, is now sold in England by the million (for our received version is substantially Tyndale's), one can only stand aghast at the irony of the fearful contrast, which so widely separated the laborer from his triumph. But perhaps we can scarcely wonder that our ancestors, after centuries of mental blindness, should have tried to burn the light they were unable to bear, causing it thereby only to shine the brighter.

It certainly spread with remarkable celerity; for in 1546 it became necessary to command all persons possessing them to deliver to the bishop, or sheriff, to be openly burnt, all works in English purporting to be written by Frith, Tyndale, Wicliff, Joye, Basil, Bale, Barnes, Coverdale, Turner, or Tracy. The extreme rarity and costliness of works of these men are the measure of the completeness with which this order was carried out; but not of its success, for the ideas survived the books which contained them. A list of the books

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